Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Eccentric Exercise to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes

For the next several weeks, I am going to be posting a series of articles on type 2 diabetes. Most of these articles focus on prevention--such as the right kind of exercise for diabetes prevention.

Eccentric exercise is a potential preventative for type 2 diabetes. By "eccentric," I don't mean unicycle riding or extreme ironing or alligator wrestling, but rather any kind of exercise in which muscles stretch as they exert force. This is exercise like lifting a weight or pushing down on a pedal.

The good news about eccentric exercise is that just one 30 minute session per week has been proven to be enough to increase fat burning--by a whopping 12%--and reduce insulin resistance, by the eighth week of exercise. The authors of the study only studied women exercisers, and they chose a once-weekly workout with the idea that, if this level of commitment made a difference, women might follow through with their exercise resolutions. And if there was going to be just one exercise session a week, then they needed to find the kind of exercise that really counts.

The kind of exercise that works is lowering a weight gently rather than lifting a weight with a quick jerk. Or it involves pushing a weight away from your body rather than pulling a weight up to your body.

If you scrunch up your muscles, you aren't doing the kind of exercise that helps control your diabetes. Rowing a real boat by pushing the oars in front of you helps diabetes. Rowing on a rowing machine by pulling a handle to you is not the most effective form of diabetes.

If you stretch out your muscles while applying pressure, then you are doing the kind of exercise that helps control your diabetes. If you go to a gym, ask a trainer to point out the eccentric exercise machines. And if they don't know, ask at another gym. A small amount of eccentric exercise can make a huge difference in your blood sugar control, and very fast. Even if you tucker out after a few minutes, a little exercise at a modest pace can make a major difference--if it's the right kind of exercise. It's a lot better to prevent diabetes now by doing the right exercise than it is to try to treat diabetic complications later with diet, medication, and special foods.

Photo Credit: US LWT 4 at World Championships 2003, byJohnteslade, via Wikimedia Commons.

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